Start of discussions for Malta to implement the EU directive on work-life balance. Emphasis on shared responsibility between the couple in the upbringing of children
The Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister commenced discussions so that Malta implements the European Union directive that deals with work-life balance. The directive must enter into force in all European Union countries by the beginning of August 2022 and in the coming months we will undertake the necessary preparations. Discussions are being led by the Department for Industrial Relations and Employment.
Minister Carmelo Abela, responsible for social dialogue and working conditions, said this while addressing one of the series of public meetings being organised by MEUSAC, on the future of the European Union. The theme of this public discussion was ‘Man for work or work for man?’.
The Minister said that this European Union directive is going to treat among others the extension of maternal and paternal leave. He said that this directive will seek to increase the number of hours of paternal leave, from those present, as an established number of hours will be mandatory to be given in the form of paternal leave and will not allow for a full transfer of these hours between parents. The Minister emphasised that the position of the government will be to encourage shared responsibility between the couple in the upbringing of children.
The theme of female participation in the world of work was addressed during the discussion. He noted that the rate of Maltese women in the world of work is higher than the average rate of the European Union. Here he referred to a substantial improvement in the last six years, as in the second quarter of 2020 the percentage was 63.6 % in terms of women’s labour market participation, compared to 50.5% in the first quarter of 2014.
According to Minister Abela, when it comes to women’s participation in the world of work and the issue of raising children, a change in mindset and attitude is needed in order to avoid any impact on a woman’s career, for simply being a woman. This will be with all due respect to women who choose to remain at home. He referred to the number of initiatives taken by the government in recent years to also encourage the participation of women in the world of work, including the introduction of free childcare.
Diane Vella Muscat – DG, Department for Industrial Relations and Employment and Professor Godfrey Baldacchino from the University of Malta participated in the discussion. There were also interventions by Mr Jesmond Marshall from the GWU and by Dr Anna Borg who is Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta.